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Chemical company holds town hall to address concerns over planned facility in Florence area

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A Round Rock-based chemical company that wants to build a new facility in Williamson County next year held a town hall on Saturday in a bid to allay community concerns.

Representatives from ExFluor Research Corporation spoke about their past breaches with local governments and a leak the company had in 2014, which was “the only leak we’ve had in the history of our company”, said an ExFluor representative. The company has been in business since the 1980s.

These previous breaches and leaks were something neighbors expressed concern about.

“We’re not against free enterprise, but don’t do it here in the midst of this community,” NSGA President Bryce McCormick said earlier this month.

Locals formed a non-profit group called The North San Gabriel Alliance to oppose the construction of the plant. Many of these members were at City Hall on Saturday.

The NSGA has already collected more than 1,800 signatures people petitioning against the proposed plant, and nearly 90 residents have filed complaints with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

ExFluor Research Corporation has applied for a permit for a new manufacturing site in the Florence area, near the Burnet County line. The $10 million facility would be located on a purchased 36-acre parcel of land near County Road 236.

ExFlour talked about what they learned from that 2014 leak and how it influenced their design for this new building.

“We wanted to be safer, so we doubled our critical volume,” said a representative from the planned facility’s evaporation pond. He also talked about the process gas system, adapting to growth, weather issues and how much traffic this would add to the area.

“Yes, we will add traffic on the road,” said this ExFlour representative. “It will only be a small amount of traffic.” He noted that delivery trucks already use this route and that the building was only designed to accommodate about 30 people.

“I just want to apologize for some of the images that have been portrayed of us,” the ExFluor representative concluded. He says the pictures shown are not what the facility looks like and it will be very clean and fully contained.